The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015


The last year of Barack Obama's presidency will begin in less than one month. In as earlier assessment of his presidency, I wrote the following in summary after a detailed assessment of his many, many failures during first seven years in office:
Barack Obama is the worst president in my lifetime and arguably, the worst president in the history of the United States. A winning smile, an ability to read a teleprompter with natural intonation, and the obvious fact that Obama is the first African American president, do absolutely nothing to change my assessment of the man, his lack of accomplishment, or the potentially irreparable damage he has done.

Is there any good that can come out of Barack Obama's presidency? It's hard to say. Some good can be derived from the Obama era if the American people learn from it. But what, exactly, is there to learn?

... here's what we can learn: Ideologically driven decision making, coupled with lack of executive experience, coupled with no skill in team building (the Team of 2s), coupled with an inability to adapt and change course, coupled with a hyper-partisan world view that rejects meaningful negotiation and demonizes opponents, all coupled with a copious dose of hubris—leads to ruin.
Phil Gramm And Michael Solon offer some hope to those of us who are concerned about Obama's attempt to create an imperial presidency, one in which he disregards existing law (e.g., arbitrarily postponing Obamacare provisions) and "legislating" by executive fiat (e.g. changes in immigration policy that affect millions of illegal immigrants). They write:
President Obama seems to aspire to join Franklin Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan as one of the three most transformative presidents of the past hundred years, and by all outward signs he has achieved that goal. But while Roosevelt and Reagan sold their programs to the American people and enacted them with bipartisan support, Mr. Obama jammed his partisan agenda down the public’s throat. The Obama legacy is built on executive orders, regulations and agency actions that can be overturned using the same authority Mr. Obama employed to put them in place.

An array of President Obama’s policies—changing immigration law, blocking the Keystone XL pipeline, the Iranian nuclear agreement and the normalization of relations with Cuba, among others—were implemented exclusively through executive action. Because any president is free “to revoke, modify or supersede his own orders or those issued by a predecessor,” as the Congressional Research Service puts it, a Republican president could overturn every Obama executive action the moment after taking the oath of office.
The sad reality is that Barack Obama has set a precedent for an imperial presidency that could be adopted by presidents that follow. Regardless of whether the next president is a Republican or a Democrat, many of Obama's borderline unlawful and arguably unconstitutional actions should be rolled back. That might happen under a GOP president. It will not happen under a Democrat and taking Obama's lead may, in fact, get worse.